“You know, friend Beelzebub,” said Mephistopholes, “The rule of three controls all of reality.”
“Yes, Master,” replied his smitten servant.
“Once I plug my machine in,” exclaimed the evil genius, “The world is mine. Text, context and subtext; melody, harmony and rhythm; plot,theme and setting. I can irrevocably own mankind, each individual’s very soul. Any fool can win deliberately evil sadistic people to us. These three switches, however, merely by distorting things, can bring all those well-intentioned characters to us too. Yes, that’s all it takes. Just juggle things around so they don’t understand.”
“Fostoogle” is an old word that my cousin Gary first told me about when we were in our teens. It’s new to everyone else though. It’s an obscure word, with antecedents that go back to the Old English of Beowulf’s era. I can imagine that characters ranging from Theodoric of York to King Arthur may have quite often said it. It means “to confuse”. Because this word hasn’t ever caught on with the general public, I often very much enjoy shocking and confusing people by using it, ever so casually, in a sentence. “Old friends and classmates often fostoogle me with other former friends and classmates of theirs.” “I get so fostoogled when I have to drive through someplace I’ve never been before.” To my chagrin, it will most probably never make the big leagues, to the point where it may fit in with such hep obscure words as “obviate” and “moot”. It’s such an exceptionally nice word though. In today’s word, there’s always so much confusion that we may even need at least one more word to cover all its varieties.
It’s the end of January and 2015 is settling in upon us. Last night I went to the first lay Carmelite meeting of the new year. I got my niece Bridget to drive me to Our Lady of Peace parish in Lynbrook. All went well. I made sure I paid my forty dollars dues. We’re studying Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. I really miss both the St. Joseph community in Seaford, New York, and the Our Lady of the Mountain group in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, but these meetings seem to be working out very well so far too. Compared to my last two groups, this one has quite an exceptionally large membership. They said last night that there are over forty official members. The Seaford and Wilkes Barre groups only had around a dozen each. Karen Lee gave me a form to fill out so I can officially transfer from my Pennsylvania group. Next month there will be a day of recollection at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens. I’m hoping to be able to go. I haven’t been there in quite a very long time. It would be so good if someday I could say that I’ve gotten things all figured out and all was right in the world.
I’ve always thought it would be so nice if Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote could meet Charlotte Bronte’s (Currer Bell’s) Jane Eyre. Bronte’s character was, virtually entirely, a rewritten version of the Cinderella story. Instead of a wicked stepmother and three wicked ugly stepsisters, she had a wicked aunt-in-law and three wicked ugly cousins. The unfair treatment she got was by way of the deliberate abuse they chose to heap upon her. By way of a variety of entirely mundane misadventures and hardships, she eventually married Mr. Edward Rochester, and they lived quite happily ever after. Cervantes’ Don, however, fell prey to all sorts of delusional fantasies that led to his trouble. That’s in the nature of the picaresque novel His Dulcinea of El Tobozo, in reality the homely peasant girl Aldonza Lorenzo, was as much of a distortion as everyone and everything else he dealt with. It’s quite a lopsided tale of courtly love. If the Don and Jane were ever to be properly introuduced, it would lead, I should suppose, to quite a colorful episode. The Don, quite aware of the fact that he is at all times obligated to treat a lady with absolute respect, would make every possible effort to be quite the gentleman in Jane’s company. Although she most certainly isn’t very comely of appearance, he may never notice. It’s quite possible that he may think she’s as lovely as he considered his Dulcinea. The pair would be driven to distraction because of all the distinctions between Counter-Reformation Spain and Victorian England. There would be significant religious differences. He’s quite the staunchly orthodox Catholic and she’s a demure Quaker lady. He may give her a bit of a speech pointing out to her all the problems with the errors of the Protestant Reformation. If he gets his hands upon Mrs. Reed and the Reed cousins there could be quiet a lot of big trouble. He’d have to be a bit tactful with Mrs. Reed, Eliza and Georgianna, but he’d really have to put Master John into his place. Sancho Panza would have to spend a lot of time keeping him in check. In Jane’s mundane world, where propriety is an absolute necessity at all times, the Don simply doesn’t fit in. She, however, politely accepts all his idiosyncracies, knowing quite well that he’s ultimately a gentleman. He could tell her all his tall tales and keep her petting Rozinante and Dapple. Jane understands what it’s like to be misunderstood and mistreated. At least hers is quite a practical approach to life. She could give him some pointers about how to deal with things in a more tactful and profitable manner. She would marvel at his and Sancho’s total lack of social skills. I should suppose that throughout their first meeting, the Rochesters and their new Spaniard friends would be quite taken aback at each other in seemingly insurmountable ways. After a while, however, both sides would be quite capable of accepting the fact that all could ultimately work out. The Spaniards would add color and excitement to the relationship, and their English friends, Mr. and Mrs. Rochester, could provide the voice of civility and etiquette. Such an extreme lack of compatibility could even be enjoyable.
The ad in the Daily News read: “Pick three beautiful famous women to share supper with you.” Bob chose Mary Queen of Scots, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie Antoinette. He filled out the form and sent in his application. The fateful day finally arrived. In frustration, he called the company that placed the ad.
“I just don’t get it!” he exclaimed in rage. “I did as I was told to do! What happened?”
“Mr. Wiggums,” the company’s representative gasped, “Don’t you understand? They’re all dead!”
He simply couldn’t believe he’d gone to all that trouble for nothing.